Cover photo for Dr. Lowder's Obituary
1924 Dr. 2019

Dr. Lowder

February 5, 1924 — May 12, 2019

Dr. Robert G. "Bob" Lowder, Bradley University Emeritus Professor of Psychology died peacefully Sunday, May 12, 2019 at his residence in Peoria with his wife at his side.

He was born on February 5, 1924 in Peoria to Jesse James and Ethel Florence (White) Lowder. He spent his early years on a farm in rural Glasford before moving to Peoria, where he attended Irving School and graduated from Peoria Central High School at the age of 16. Drafted into the United States Army in 1943 and initially trained as a medic, Bob was selected for the Army's rigorous Specialized Training Program (ASTP), which provided extensive academic preparation in engineering from the universities of Arkansas and Texas A & M and prompted a variety of military assignments, one of which included interviewing returning WWII veterans under the tutelage of a respected Army psychiatrist. Thus, his career in psychology was launched. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from Bradley University and PhD in industrial psychology from Purdue University.

Following four year of teaching psychology courses at Idaho State College, Bob began his Bradley career in 1956, a career which spanned 36 years and included helping many students confront their fear of numbers and statistics. He was well known for his engaging, thorough treatment of subject matter, clarifying the obscure and his penchant for rigorous and critical thinking. In addition to teaching, Bob served terms as the director of graduate training in psychology, department chairman and was a practicing clinical psychologist early in his career. He held positions as a research psychologist for the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson AF Base (ergonomics), was a National Science Foundation scholar at the University of Iowa and for many years, consulted widely with business and industry in the areas of personnel selection and marketing research. Most recently he was honored as the Department of Psychology's 2016 Distinguished Alumnus for his ongoing support and service to the department and Bradley University.

Bob was a member of Sigma XI (honor society for science and engineering), the American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Phi Kappa Phi, and was a registered psychologist in the state of IL and listed in the National Register for Health Providers in Psychology.

An accomplished sportsman, he remained active well into his eighties. Hunting, skiing, bowling and golf were among his enjoyable pursuits as well as racing his sports car along Peoria County's roads. His greatest satisfaction, however, came from helping students maximize their potential and seeing the fruits of his labors when they returned to visit or sought his advice and counsel. Likewise, he cherished the many collegial relationships forged along the way.

Surviving are his wife, Dr. Gretchen Oestreich, a nephew, Craig (Peg) Lowder of Geneva, IL, several great-nieces and their spouses, a great-great niece and great-great nephew. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Charles J. "Chuck" Lowder, sister-in-law, Colleen (Grebe) Lowder, a step sister, M. Louise Varnes and niece Candace Sheckler.

Per Bob's wishes, his body has been donated to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois for medical research. There will be no public services or visitation. Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Bradley University Psychology Department.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Clary Funeral Home, 3004 West Lake Avenue, in Peoria.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Robert G. Lowder, please visit our floral store.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Lowder, please visit our flower store.

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